Paranoid Personality Disorder (or PDD) is a condition that falls into a larger category of ‘Cluster A personality disorders,’ characterized by distorted ways of thinking. This disorder manifests itself usually in early adulthood, and is more common in men than in women. PPD is characterized by being constantly on guard and wary of others, with the unfounded belief that other people are trying to inflict pain upon the sufferer. This makes it difficult for those with PPD to maintain friendships or form close relationships in general. The paranoia present in PPD is unmatched and can severely limit an individual’s life.
The cause of PPD is yet unknown, although it is more likely to be present in individuals whose families have a history of schizophrenia. As in any other disorder, it is speculated that the cause lies in both biological and social factors, meaning it could be a mixture of a genetic predisposition and early childhood trauma.
There are several behaviors associated with PPD, all involving intense suspicion of others, as those suffering from this disorder are influenced by their belief that others, even those close to them, are deceiving them in some way. For example, people suffering from this disorder are completely unwilling to give out personal information. They are afraid that whoever they tell will use even the slightest tidbit of something personal against them at a later date. Another example is that those suffering from PPD have the tendency to hold grudges. They are unforgiving of any slight, as they see it as something that will happen again.
Other signs of PPD include very sensitive emotions, an overanalysis of every look or remark, a quickness to anger, a consistent, irrational suspicion that a partner is cheating, a coldness in relationships, which could morph into intense jealousy or controlling tendencies, a belief that they are in the right, a difficulty relaxing, and a constant hostility toward others. These are very broad symptoms, so it can sometimes be difficult for doctors to diagnose.
Diagnoses begin with a physical exam to rule out any other cause for strange behaviors. If no physical causes are present, the patient will be diagnosed with PPD by a licensed psychiatrist. Treatment for PPD is usually psychotherapy. In sessions, patients work on adopting coping skills and improving social interaction and communication. Unfortunately, treatment relies on the level of trust a patient feels for his or her therapist. Establishing this level of trust can be difficult, as PPD makes those suffering from it distrust everyone. If the case is more severe, anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed.